Kenya Power meter tender wars is far from over

by Wakili Liam
relatives

After the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) dismissed a case challenging the tender for the supply of meters, a second time in two months, a consortium of local companies filed an appeal again.

The Sh2 billion tender was cancelled on technicalities.

Kenya Power had invited eligible and interested bidders to submit Expression of Interest in respect to tender number KPI/9A.3/RT/05/21-22 on March 14, 2022 for the supply and delivery of single phase, three phase post-paid and pre-paid meters.

Thirty-Three prospective tenderers, including 11 Kenyan firms were invited by way of restricted tendering to place their bids.

However, on April 8, Energy Meters Assemblers and Manufacturers Association filed a request for review of the tender at the PPARB through Koceyo and Co. Advocates.

On May 10, the Faith Waigwa-led board dismissed the application on grounds that the association was neither a candidate nor a tenderer and thus lacked locus standi to have the board attend to its concerns.

On May 20, 2022, four of the Kenyan firms returned to the board seeking its audience to terminate the tender on grounds that it violated their rights.

The firms in question included Inhemter Africa Company Limited, Smart Meters technology Limited, Shenzhen Star Instrument Company limited and Magnet Ventures Limited.

The four in their pleadings argued that Kenya Power through the tender requirements had effectively locked them out by skewing the requirements in favour of some foreign firms.

“The applicants aver that the essence of the tender document and conditions is to edge out local manufacturers and assemblers who have all been supplying Kenya Power with energy meters in favour of foreign international companies,” the application read in part.

The aggrieved firms singled out a requirement for the successful bidder to have a minimum of 15 years technical specifications experience in the manufacture of energy meters.

“This condition is unreasonable, impractical and discriminatory and meant to stifle and fairly deny members of the applicants an opportunity,” they protested.

Kenya Power also required that meters on offer shall have been in service and given reliable service for a minimum of eight years in at least two power utilities in at least three of the following continents/region; Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, South America or Australia.

This condition, the aggrieved firms insist, is calculated to lock them out since they are local firms that were established in 2015/16 after the government in a ‘Buy Kenya, Build Kenya mantra’ requested them to set up assemblies with Kenya Power being their only client.

Last Friday, the board once again dismissed the application not on merit but a technicality of filing out of time.

“Having considered the matters above the Board’s position (is that) the request for review dated May 20, 2022 was filed out of time as provided for under section 167(1) of the Act. The Board lacks jurisdiction to entertain the application,” PPARB decision states.

Following the move, the bidders are now preparing to move to the High Court this week seeking to stop the tender process piling more pressure on the power utility that has been in the eye of a storm for several years now.

Last week, Kenya Power said in a public notice that three of its directors Elizabeth Rogo, Abdulrazaq Ali and Caroline Kittony-Waiyaki had resigned.

Their exit came days after KP appointed a new acting managing director, Geoffrey Waswa Muli, to replace Rosemary Oduor, who had been acting in the same capacity since August 2021, after she was compelled to proceed on annual leave.


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